FORSYTH — Forsyth City Council conducted its first meeting of the new year Tuesday, welcoming two new members and installing a new mayor pro tem.
Councilman Desi Hansford was unanimously selected as mayor pro tem.
Jo Anna Banks and Eric Wilson were sworn as new council members, replacing Rosemary Walker and Lamar Russell. Walker lost her seat in November’s election, while Russell decided to step down after more than 30 years of service on the council.
Mayor Tye Howard honored both departing council members with proclamations.
Howard said he’s looking forward to working with Wilson and Banks, both of whom have worked for agencies at the state level.
“I think it’s going to be good for the city,” he said. “It’s good to get such people.”
Wilson, the owner of Go Communications, formerly worked with what is now the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Economic development is one of his top priorities for the city.
“I think it’s going to be a great year,” he said. “Forsyth is poised for a lot of great things. We need to prepare for the Department of Corrections moving here, and all of the opportunities it’s going to bring.”
Wilson said he also wants to increase recreational opportunities for residents and wants to see the city divest itself of operating Forsyth CableNet, which he said is losing about $500,000 per year.
Banks, the city’s former Better Hometown director, has previous experience with the state’s Department of Community Affairs. She said she also wants to increase recreation opportunities. As for the cable issue, she said she has concerns about its finances. She wants to study why it’s losing money and decide the best course of action.
Banks said she’s looking forward to helping develop the city over the next four years.
“I have worked with 22 local governments, and I felt like I wanted to focus my attention on Forsyth, my hometown,” she said. “I want to familiarize myself with what our strengths are.”
Banks said she wants to see an infrastructure plan and examine how the city allocates its financial resources. She also said hiring a new fire chief and police chief are priorities. She said Forsyth has great potential.
“The sky’s the limit here.”
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.